Summary: I have never before prepared a sermon with three main points quite like the ones you’ll hear today. My first will be, “Was it only a lucky coincidence?” My second, “Wow!” And my third, “What a mighty God!” (Powerpoints Available - #286)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #286.)
Realistically I realize that this message today could be the last message I will ever preach. For that matter, for someone here this morning, this could even be the last message you will ever hear.
So this message, in fact, every message should be carefully considered, prayerfully prepared, & lovingly presented. The preacher should be God’s servant, grounded in the truth of God’s Word, & desirous of living & speaking so that others will clearly see the love of Christ through him.
So, if this were to be the last sermon I ever preach or the last sermon you ever hear, what passage or passages of scripture should we consider?
A. As some of you have heard me say, the scripture that burns its way most deeply into my mind - & it’s not my favorite – is James 3:1 which says, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.”
What that means to me is that not only will I be judged by God for my relationship with Jesus as my Savior & Lord – but I’m also going to be judged for what I teach, for the influence I have upon you by my words & my example. So I need to be very careful how I live & what I say & what others see in me.
But if that is true for me, it’s also true for you. For whether it’s from the pulpit or on the job or wherever we are, our lives are constantly testifying what is in our hearts.
And we need to remember the old saying, “What you do speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.” God, please help us to be what you want us to be!
B. Another powerful scripture is Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus is speaking to the apostles & He is saying,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
"and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We call this passage “the Great Commission” & in obedience to His command we exist as a congregation, & are involved in a variety of missions both here & throughout the world.
By the way, notice again the last part of that scripture where Jesus says, “And surely I am with you always…” Remember that promise, for I want to touch upon it again before this sermon is over.
C. Or how about Romans 8:28 where the apostle Paul declares, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”?
The old King James Version of the Bible stated the first part of that verse this way, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…”
Unfortunately, some people misunderstood that verse. Some thought it meant that everything that happens, both good & evil – even the most horrible of events, that God deliberately causes them to happen.
So if something terrible occurs in your life or in your family – it means that God wanted it to happen – that it is all God’s fault. But that verse doesn’t teach that at all.
Others thought that God was promising that if you love Him He will never allow anything bad to happen in your life. And then when something bad does happen, they think that it means you don’t love God enough or that you don’t have enough faith, & that God is punishing you for that.
But I’m convinced what God is promising in that verse is something wonderful – that no matter what comes our way in life – whether it is our own fault or something someone else does to us – if we love God & let Him work out His purpose in us, that even from the worst of situations some good can result.
It may be a lesson that we learn. It may be new strength & understanding that we gain to help us face life more victoriously, or to be of help to others. God will strengthen & help us. Isn’t that what He promised when He said, “And surely I am with you always…”?
D. Now along with the scriptures I have mentioned, there is one more passage I want to use in my sermon this morning - & it is the 91st Psalm. Also, there are three stories that I want to tell you. These are all true stories.